This is a quick (1 min) story from a member of the Noob Spearo Community. Certainly gives you some ideas about working as a Police Diver!– Shrek
Hi mate, I’ve been meaning to send these to you for ages. This will make me the undisputed poo story king!
I was a member of the AFP’s Police Dive Squad for about 7 years back in the late 90s to mid 2000s. These pics are of me looking for a sawn off shot gun that had been used in an armed hold up. The crooks drove past a sewerage treatment plant and the Detectives thought the gun might have been thrown in one of the settling ponds.
I was on overtime, so I had to take one for the team! That said, the air was a lot cleaner and smelt a lot better inside the suit than it did for the boys watching!
I was wearing a chem suit which bloody filled up with air and from memory, I had to wear 40-50 pounds of lead to get me to the bottom. It was so viscous that fins were pointless. I just had to drag myself along the bottom doing arc searches.
The saying I was up to my neck in shit doesn’t do it justice. I was literally in deep shit! 6 meters deep!
Shrek “What a cool gig – besides the pooventures of course. Dead bodies decomposing would be rough too I guess?”
Body recoveries were the downside to the job and unfortunately, I was involved with a few. Almost all our diving was in zero visibility and the adrenaline pump you get when you find the body in that environment (by feel!) is something I never want to experience again.
Fortunately, we never had to recover one that had decomposed too much. Unless a body is weighed down well, the gasses that generate inside as decomposition starts, floats them to the surface within a matter of days. The warmer the water, the quicker the process. Divers aren’t usually required once they are on the surface. Water Police take care of that (or they did back in my day).
*a quick caveat from Shrek: Freediving and Spearfishing can be highly complimentary however knowing how they are different is essential so that you can spearfish safely. Freediving is holding your breath in controlled environments with close supervision. Spearfishing is most often done in the wild where your only safety device is your buddy. Because of this, freediving one time to a specific depth in a controlled environment does not correlate to spearfishing. You should not spear anywhere near your physical capabilities so that you always have a margin of safety. Fatigue and sustained diving all day also need to be factored into safe diving as well. Having said all this, freediving courses offer very practical benefits for spearos such as; how to conduct a rescue, streamlining, equalization, understanding of physiology and more. Just don’t expect or try to emulate performance freediving while you are spearfishing. The journey to greater depths takes time, experience, wisdom and opportunity with attentive dive buddies. There is no rush!
Whilst Kilsby is a spectacular place to dive for its crystal clear fresh water, it does have a limited feasible diving depth – unless you want to tech dive with the right equipment into the caves. Not recommended for a Freediving novice.
However, at the end of our course a few of us went on a secret mission to really test our newly acquired skills.
During this particular descent I was committed to only two things and neither included a ‘depth’.
The first: Can I equalise? The second: Am I comfortable? If the answer to both was yes, then I’d keep going, but if anything felt wrong then it was time to abort and turn back.
Well, after a significant ‘breath up’ and the support of some extremely capable and experienced friends, off I went, trying to make everything as streamlined as possible, finning efficiently and not looking down.
The next part was the hardest, trying to stay relaxed, ‘without’ trying to stay relaxed, because the more you think about it, the more instinct kicks in and logic says why the hell are you doing this? Turn back! It’s highly counter-intuitive.
Before I knew it, with all the above in mind and the consolidation of a week’s worth of very deliberate practice under significant professional supervision (read: don’t try this at home), I was hitting the point of becoming negatively buoyant: where you no longer have to kick to force yourself down. You’re so deep that the weight on your belt is now pulling you towards the bottom and you’re not going to float. You’re sinking… sinking, equalising, trying to relax without trying to relax.
It’s getting colder, darker and the line that you’re attached to with a wrist band is starting to ‘wizz’ as you pick up speed.
Everything is going well but it’s colder, darker and the wizz is becoming louder, but so are your thoughts, much louder… should I be getting to the bottom soon? What if I’m going too quickly? Do I have enough oxygen to get back up?
Shit… Equalise… Relax… Ah! Look down!
Can I see the weight attached to the bottom of the line? This hole in the middle of a paddock in the middle of nowhere is deep and I’d like to be found even if I don’t come up. Illogical I know, as I’m attached to the line itself. It seems like forever that I’ve been on this descent, far longer time-wise than I’ve been before.
What do I see?
Nothing… just the line disappearing into the very dark, very black abyss. Maybe it’s time to throw on the brakes, but, before I do, can I equalise? Am I comfortable? Yes. Yes.
Ok, keep going, let gravity do the work. The whole time during this dive I’ve realistically done nothing, just the decision to do it and a few kicks, the work has 99% all been in my head.
But no wonder, right? Your brain is trying to tell you with every one of its alarm bells to turn the hell back, you’re going the wrong way, oxygen is in the opposite direction, stupid! But the other half is saying nope, adventure lies below.
Which is what I love about it. A challenge, going places physically and mentally that most people wouldn’t dare or, realistically and understandably, even consider. But hey, why are we here, right?
I decide to have one last look before calling it, just in case it’s only a few meters away, because man, despite my commitment to those two questions I know myself and I know I’d be pissed if I was only ‘just off’. And… there it was. A tennis ball attached to the end of the line followed by a 4kg kettle bell.
So much excitement but so little time to enjoy it. I’d made it to the bottom, I held onto the line and had a look around. Trying to forget about the pressure I can feel and the overwhelming need to breathe (go on, hold your breath now).
There’s really not much to see. Not a lot grows without light but it was great to see it, the bottom, all the same, instead of hearing about it from others that had seen it and you just have to imagine. No more imagining for me. Must be great being an astronaut.
Then reality kicks back in, you’re only half way there kiddo, you need to get back up! The ascent is much the same but you now have hope and familiarity instead of fear and the unknown. You’re on your way to safety and your friends at the top, plus oxygen too. Talk about a one sided relationship you totally take for granted.
You’re on your way finning upwards but you have to work for it. It’s getting lighter now too and much warmer than you thought it was at the beginning. Probably on account of how damn cold it is down there, but those uncomfortable temperatures fall down the priority list when others, like breathing, take over in the hierarchy.
I see my safety buddy at about the half way mark, arguably the most dangerous part of the dive as it’s the most prone to shallow water blackouts. Adam escorts me to the top as I pick up speed and I become positively buoyant again. I burst to the surface where I grab hold of the buoy and everyone made sure I was ok.
Everyone has a happy but relieved look on their faces as you’ve come to the top safely, then the look of anticipation and serious nods as they wait for you to give the ‘okay’ sign: an indication that you’re in control and not about to pass out. This is followed by ‘hook’ breathing actions that you employ to get oxygen back into the blood stream as quickly as possible. These are also called ‘recovery breaths’ and are useful and good practice for spearfishing as well.
Despite it being a joyous occasion, safety, friends, oxygen, the show isn’t over yet and the danger hasn’t left the building.
Eckart looks at my dive watch and looks away with a bit of disappointment mixed with concern and a wry smile. So does Adam, followed by Isaac. I pull my wrist to look at it as my excitement rises but Adam grabs it and holds my arm down, trying to hide his emotions whilst at the same time looking after my wellbeing and encouraging more recovery breaths. Now isn’t the time for any unnecessary strain on the body, just breathing and recovery!
It’s only a second later that I understand why, my heart is smashing my chest. It almost feels as though people might be able to see it through my wetsuit. He tells me not to smile and tries to calm the excitement on the surface between us all. Telling me to just relax with his arm around me like you might a child that’s just tripped over and needs some support before they take that massive breath and start howling. It’s weird but comforting. No one else seems to think it’s weird, it’s just part of it. You’ve literally just touched new limits and you’re pretty vulnerable physically, so no wonder.
A minute or so passes and I’m allowed to look. Everyone is focused on my reaction. I read the watch face and in massive, extra large text it says… 35.3m!
The biggest smile runs across my face, as it does for everyone else, there are more friends on the banks looking over that have already heard how deep it was, as the Chinese whispers worked as efficiently as they do behind the scenes when I was recovering. Everyone is yelling and splashing the water.
This is great! I can hardly breathe. I feel as though I’ve had a rock put through my chest and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
This was one of the best days of my life! – watch our video of the trip to South Australia below!
10 Ocean Camping Tips And How To Make It More Interesting
Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But if you’re used to camping in an RV or in a tent near your car, trying something different can add excitement to your next camping trip.
Shrek and Mark filleting up fish while camping on North Stradbroke Island
Ocean camping was always one of the most popular ways to camp. It offers a great opportunity to get away from everything and enjoy the sounds and smells of nature.
Spending a night by the ocean can be a wonderful experience. And during the day, plenty of activities keep you busy: from swimming and fishing to simply exploring the coastline. Here are a few ideas on what to do while ocean camping:
1. Try spearfishing
Spearfishing is a great way to get up close and personal with the fish in the ocean. It can be a bit challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a gratifying experience. Make sure to check the regulations in your area before you go spearfishing, as there may be certain areas that are off limits.
If you are new to spearfishing, plenty of instructional videos and articles online can teach you the basics. It may seem daunting initially, but with some practice, you’ll be an expert in no time!
2. Go on a nature hike
One of the best things about camping by the ocean is that there are often beautiful hiking trails nearby. Make sure to bring your camera to snap pictures of the stunning scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting wildlife, too- you never know what you might see!
Daly/Luscombe family nature hiking
For an even better experience, bring your dog along with you! It’s a great way to build wonderful memories and connect with nature. Make sure to pack some high-protein treats for your pup to keep his energy levels up, and you are good to go!
3. Collect shells
One of the most classic beach activities is collecting shells. It’s a great way to relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings. Who knows, you might even find a rare shell! If you’re feeling creative, you could use the shells to make some artwork or jewelry.
Depending on the tide and the camping location, you might even be able to find some sand dollars. Be sure not to take too many, though- it’s important to leave some for other critters that rely on them for food.
4. Go surfing or paddleboarding
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at surfing or paddle boarding? It’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the ocean waves. Just be sure to heed the lifeguards’ warnings and always stay within your skill level.
If your beach has a lot of people, surfing or paddleboarding can also be a great way to meet new friends! Don’t be afraid to talk with someone while you’re waiting for the next wave.
5. Go fishing
Fishing is another great way to relax and enjoy the ocean views. It’s also a great activity for the whole family- even small children can enjoy the fun! Just be sure to check the local regulations on what kind of fish you’re allowed to catch, and always throw back any that are too small.
Troy and Shrek – first fish for him! Shovelnose caught and released
Fishing is also a great opportunity to try out different cooking methods. If you catch a big enough fish, you could cook it over an open fire for a truly unique camping experience.
6. Have a picnic on the beach
One of the best things about ocean camping is that you can enjoy all your meals with a view of the water. Pack a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy it on the sand while listening to the sound of crashing waves. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring.
If you’re feeling extra romantic, you could pack a candlelit dinner for two. Just be sure to clean up after yourself when you’re finished- no one wants to find leftover food in the sand!
7. Explore tide pools
Tide pools are a great way to get up close and personal with the animals that live in the ocean. Be sure to check the tides before you go, as you don’t want to be trapped by the incoming waves.
Many tide pools are home to hermit crabs, sea stars, and other interesting creatures. It’s a great opportunity to teach kids about the different animals that live in the ocean. Just be sure not to touch or disturb anything- remember, these are their homes!
8. Go on a whale-watching tour
If you’re lucky enough to be camping near whales, why not go on a whale-watching tour? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t soon forget. Tour boats often leave from nearby towns or cities, so be sure to do some research in advance.
Just be sure to dress warmly, as it can often be cool out on the open water. Binoculars are also a good idea to better view the whales.
9. Try your hand at beachcombing
Beachcombing is a great way to find interesting treasures washed up on shore. You never know what you might find- shells, sea glass, or even a message in a bottle! It’s a great way to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
Just be sure not to take anything that isn’t yours. Many people enjoy collecting things from the beach, so leaving some for others to find is important.
10. Go for a swim
Of course, one of the best things to do while ocean camping is to go for a swim! Just be sure to check the local regulations on where and when you’re allowed to swim. Some beaches have specific areas designated for swimming, so it’s important to follow the rules.
If you’re not a strong swimmer, be sure to stay within your depth and always wear a life jacket. Swimming with a friend is also good, just in case you get into trouble.
Ocean camping is a great way to enjoy all that the beach has to offer. By following these tips, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable trip. Just be sure to leave the beach cleaner than you found it- we want to be able to enjoy it for many years to come!
XTAR D26 Whale Review | LED Diving Torch for underwater foraging/hunting
“Overall, this has been one of the best dive torches I’ve used. It’s bright, durable and easy to secure.” – Cam
Cam lives and dives mainly around Sydney although him and I have dived in Victoria and South Australia using this torch. I asked Cam to put together a review based on the hectic use he has given it chasing mainly Eastern Rock Lobsters. Here is the rest of what he had to say. – Shrek
In particular, the brightness of the XTAR D26 Whale is great, and is probably the best dive torch I’ve used for both brightness and illumination. It has four brightness settings, getting up to a strong 1100lm, which can apparently reach up to 310m on land but also makes a solid effort under the water.
The torch has what it calls the “unique side switch (patented) and power indication”. The power indication light is a really handy warning tool. The light is green normally, but it turns to red when it is between 25% and 5% and then flashes below 5%. The locking mechanism of the side switch takes a little bit to get used to. You need to hold the switch down and then twist it to the left 90 degrees to lock it in place. While locking systems are good so you don’t bump it in tight spaces, this one can be a little hard if you need to use it with one hand or a thumb if your other hand is otherwise occupied (such as reaching for a cray).
At almost 300g it is a bit weightier than most, however, I actually don’t mind that and it doesn’t impact much as soon as you’re in the water.
The lanyard/wrist strap that’s included is actually really good. It might not sound important, but the length of it is long enough to be able to stow it and the toggle doesn’t slip when locked, so you can keep it tied to your wrist without worrying. This is important when it’s not in your hand, as you often can’t feel it through your wetsuit or glove.
The quality seems to be great and it has been relatively maintenance free. I’ve been using it for over a year now without any issues of corrosion or any water appearing to get into the working parts. However, there are two spare O-rings included in case you need them.
A fun addition is that it also has a standard tripod screw hole, which allows it to be fixed to items such as a dive photography system, a handle, or a wrist mount.
Four brightness settings up to 1100lm: 60/200/600/1100
Colour temperature: 6000K
Beam throw: 310m
IP rating: IPX8
Material: Anodized aircraft 6N01 aluminium alloy
Dimensions: 155mm x 46mm
Weight: 293g (including battery)
Battery: 18650/18700/26650 Li-ion batteries (26550 5000mAh rechargeable battery was included in the set with a charger)
Run time: up to 48h on low or 2h on “turbo” (1100lm)
Max diving depth: 100m
Spot light angle: 5 degrees
Here’s a vid of Cam and Shrek using the dive torch in South Australia
“This delicious crowd pleaser of a recipe is perfect for when you are having a few guests over and want to put on a good feed. We have used a coastal fingermark in this exact recipe here but you could try whichever whole fish you’d like. One whole fish around that 45cm mark will happily feed 2 people, top it off with some nice fresh greens as a side and your onto a winner. We hope you guys enjoy this dish just as much as we do, cheers!” – Jordan Hunter@the_hunter_downunder
For the fish
Medium whole fish, filleted and cut into chunks. Keep the frame for presentation
Rice bran oil – for shallow frying
3/4 cup of soy sauce
3/4 cup sushi seasoning
2 Tbs ginger, grated
Use the soy sauce, sushi seasoning and ginger to marinade the fish frame and chunks. Leave in fridge for 1-3 hours.
Heat oil in pan, coat marinated fish frame in tapioca flour. Shallow fry. Repeat with marinated fish chunks.
Place cooked fish chunks on the frame for presentation.
Chilli tamarind dipping sauce
1/2 cup coriander, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 long fresh red chillies, coarsely chopped 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1/3 cup shaved palm sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1-2 tbsp water
Blend coriander, garlic, chilli and salt to a paste in the nutri bullet. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir-fry the paste for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the shallot and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add tamarind, sugar and fish sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
Lime and coriander drizzle
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp garlic
1 chilli, chopped finely
1/4 cup of coriander, chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cubes of palm sugar, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
All ingredients in a pouring dish, mix well and let sit for 30 mins to infuse.
This post was made with the permission of Christopher Marsic, a new member on the Noob Spearo Community on Facebook who introduced himself with this story. I liked it so much, I asked him if I could share it on the Noob Spearo Vault blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! – Shrek
I live in Victoria (soon to be Mackay QLD) and I guess my biggest struggle was overcoming the conditions down this way to chase those rare southern gems.
In my early days of spearfishing 10 years ago I spent a lot of time diving Port Phillip Bay, which when I first started I thought was the best thing ever! I would jump in after work in horrible visibility 2-4m (on a good day where I lived) and would swim around for hours I started off like all spearos shooting the feared dusky morwong, but before long I worked my way up to bream and snapper and became pretty decent at getting onto the pinkies.
Most places in the bay I dived had an maximum depth of around 3m however I was super interested in the breath hold part of spearfishing so I started doing some research and that’s when I found the spearing down under magazines. I’ll never forget the first time I put one of those DVDs on and my jaw hit the floor … Watching these guys descend deep into the blue then shoot these monster fish really got me excited to get better at the sport.
After doing tons of research and learning about blackouts etc I decided it would be best to find a dive buddy so I headed to the forums back then you had to jump on a website forum there wasn’t fb groups those days that’s when I met one of my best friends to this date Jai KP and he basically introduced me to ocean diving and man that first dive in the ocean changed everything! I never wanted to dive the bay again! Little did I know this was a double edge sword.
Although there is good fish to be had here in Victoria it is very based on season and in that season you only get handful of days you can actually get in the water especially from shore. You gotta align our constant big swell, low wind and the right time of the year.
Don’t get me wrong;
– this didn’t stop me getting in the water all the time but it was hard going and not super rewarding for the beginner, so I turned my attention north, over the next few years I would dive locations like Bermagui, Eden and Townsville which made the motivation to get back into the water in Victoria super low.
I basically repeated this trend of going north and diving then coming back to Vic and basically only diving those perfect days until about 2 years ago when I took the plunge and bought a jetski and boy did that change everything.
I started becoming obsessed with getting a blue fin tuna the jet-ski I got was super capable and I soon found that as long was the wind was good it didn’t really matter what the swell was doing (within reason) I could get out to my favourite parts of Vic the South West. I proceeded to spend the next month chasing tuna seeing them time and time again but either the viz was really bad and I’d just catch a glimpse of them or they would just hang out of shooting range and pass me by.
But then it happened …
…it was towards the end of the day and I had basically called it on the tuna and headed in to an island for a bit of a look for crays and to get some footage of seals, but on my way in to the island the sounder lit up in 60m of water and I knew exactly what they were, I had the gun in the gunnel ready to go attached to my two Riffe floats which was then attached to the ski, I rolled off the side of the ski into the blue breathed up and swam down to around the 10m mark, as I was swimming down I was just surrounded by massive tuna it was absolutely awesome and super hard to keep calm I lined up one of the smaller ones that came in close as I had no idea how hard the fight would be and pulled the trigger.
Ever since that day I’ve been a lot better at finding the blues and it has reignited my love for spearing, I never imagined 10 years ago when I shot my first dusky that I would be shooting Bluefin tuna.
Absolutely love spearfishing and its journey that it brings and I cannot wait to start my new journey when I move to Mackay, Queensland later this year .